“It’s not even (about) the amount people are asking; they just won’t buy it, period. Because no amount of money will fix it. I had a house listed in Shelburne, in Peckville, that I could have sold five times, except that they didn’t have high speed.”
– Corinne Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald Real Estate
This story is a reprint from the Greenfield Recorder.
Both Kevin Hart and Jonathan Barkan knew what they were looking for when they bought their homes, in Montague and Conway, respectively: peace, quiet and the serenity of country settings, with access to broadband.
But while they’re in towns categorized as “under-served” for high-speed Internet, they’re in essentially dead zones, as far as having access to cable or a Digital Subscriber Line.
“It’s brutal,” said Hart, who lives on Richardson Road in Montague, less than 100 yards from the Leverett line, without even the prospect of easily getting access to the townwide fiber-optic that the neighboring town to the south is in the process of installing.
County real estate agents agree that it’s increasingly difficult to sell houses without access to broadband provided by cable companies or Digital Subscriber Line service from Verizon.
“It’s very important,” said Don Mailloux, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Realtors in South Deerfield. “People won’t even look at certain areas in Leverett and Shutesbury or some of the hilltowns.”
Hart starts his day commuting to his office in West Springfield, 45 to 50 minutes away, simply to access work files before he can head out to see customers in southern Vermont and New Hampshire, or elsewhere in Massachusetts or Connecticut.
That’s because the satellite system set up by Hart, who paid $320,000 for his property, takes up to an hour to download the work files that take him a minute or two to look at in the office. “Satellite is glorified dial-up,” he said.